New Orleans 2023

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Day 1

This trip I’m off to the Big Easy to catch The Cure. When I applied for verified fan status, I got it, just not for Denver. I did get it for one of my backup cities, New Orleans. And this is that trip. 

Sadly because of my insistence of flying Delta (can you really blame me?), I don’t have a direct flight. So to get in at a reasonable time, I have a SUPER early flight with a layover in Atlanta. Another 4:30am pickup time with the car service 🥱

This trip I took Louise with me. Looks like she didn’t fall asleep down in the bowels of luggage land at DIA and made it on my flight. 

Made it just fine to Atlanta for my layover. Although I did take a cat nap on the plane. As I was waiting for my next flight, I thought I would check on Louise. And the weirdest thing was going on. My AirTag was saying she was in Arvada, CO! 😳 I did a “where is my luggage” inquiry on the Delta app and it showed my bag (or at least the luggage tag) made it on my plane. That left me panicking whether or not I would have luggage in New Orleans. Oh well, only time will tell. 

And the fun kept going. I just experienced my first ever plane struck by lightening WHILE STILL FLYING IN THE FUCKING AIR! I was minding my own business watching some downloaded Netflix shows when there was this loud BANG! With a bright flash of light. My window was closed, so I only felt and heard the bang, but could see the flash in the cabin from other windows that were open. We all started looking around wondering if everyone experienced this, or we were each having individual hallucinations. I thought an engine may have blown. Then the captain came on and said yeah, that thing we heard/saw was the plane getting struck by lightning. And they were built for that and we’d be on the ground soon. Say what?!?! Holy crap! How could he be so calm and blasé?!?!? Well, that was a first for me. I’m just happy I didn’t need to change my clothes when I landed. Bodily functions stayed in proper working order and I did not wet or shit myself 🤣

We land without incident, then stop just before our gate. The pilot comes on saying due to the lightning storm, they are unable to use the “ramp” (which I’m assuming was the jetway), so we are stuck on the plane for who knows how long until the storm passes. What?!?!? Are you freaking kidding me?!?! I guess I should count my blessings and just be grateful we were ON the ground and not falling out of the sky after being struck by lightning. 

After about 20min, we move into position and get off the plane. Louise did good and joined me at baggage claim. AirTag and all. I headed over to the taxi line to catch a cab into the city. 

I’m not on this trip by myself. My friend Shawnett has joined me in this escapade. She got in earlier than me, so she was already at the hotel. We are staying on the edge between the French Quarter and the business district. After a little catching up, we strolled out to The Original Pierre Maspero’s for dinner. I got chicken and waffles with a side of cheese grits. Holy moly that was some good eating!!

Then it was a leisurely walk back to the hotel and planning stuff to do the rest of the week. Which we booked a few things yay! 🤗

Day 2

We decided not to set alarms and just wake up when we wake up naturally. We are both early risers. I woke up at 5:30am to pee because, well, I’m old and waking up to pee is normal. But Shawnett was still sleeping so I got back in bed. And apparently I actually fell back asleep as I woke at 8:15am to the room door shutting. Shawnett was off in search of coffee. I rallied and hopped in the shower, then we both headed to breakfast. 

We left the hotel about 10:30am to go walk the French Quarter. And to get our souvenir shopping done. Which involved a mid-day stop at the famous Cafe Du Monde for beignets. 🤤 The skies also opened up while we were sitting under their patio with tons of lightning strikes and thunder which I haven’t heard in years. 

We also snuck inside the St. Louis Basilica to check it out. Very beautiful inside. 

As we were making our way back towards our hotel, a friend of mine that lives there recommended we check out the Carousel Bar. So glad we did! It was very nice and not the typical French Quarter seedy place. And the chairs around the bar proper continuously moved in a circle around it! 

While having the most delicious hand shaken pina coladas, all the phones started blaring in the bar & lounge for flash flood warnings 😳 So we decided to stay longer than we should’ve to wait out the weather. 

Finally we decided to brave it and head back to the hotel. And glad we did, as my buddy, Lee, came to take us out driving around the city to places further than we wanted to walk. We went out to the garden districts and out by Loyola and Tulane (Will has Tulane on his list, so not sure if we’ll make it out here to visit that one college or not).

Then we snagged dinner at the Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar that overlooked the Marina. And we got to watch a beautiful sunset. 😍

He also drove us by the Smoothie King Center where the concert is tomorrow night, so we could be familiar with the area when walking to it later. Then we were dropped off at our hotel to have an early night. Because we have to get up early tomorrow for our next adventure!!

Day 3

Today we set the alarm to get up at 7:30 as we had an adventure scheduled to get up close and personal with alligators!! After grabbing breakfast at the hotel and getting dressed, we headed out front for our shuttle bus pick up. 

We were going on the swamp with Ragin Cajun Airboat tours. And the adventure did not disappoint!! I can’t remember our guide’s name, but he was one crazy dude! Reaching in and petting these wild beasts as he fed them raw chicken 😳 But quite entertaining nonetheless 😜 

After we were brought back to our hotel, we thought we’d have some nappy naps before getting ready for the big show tonight. But of course that was short lived as I got a disturbing call regarding my office space remodel. But that’s for another day. 

Therefore, I decided to hop in the shower and start getting ready. In case you forgot, tonight was The Cure concert. I had packed my concert shirt from their 1992 Wish Tour. So yeah, I wore my 31 year old shirt 😜

We decided to take a leisure bar hop walk down to the venue for the concert. Ended up being only one bar, oh well. Got there just as they were opening the venue. Snagged a shirt first off (so I wasn’t dealing after the show). Then we were off to find drinks in the venue. With drinks (and a snack) procured, we headed to our seats. 

The opening act was The Twilight Sad and they were really good! Apparently they’ve been around for 20 years. We got to our seats just as they started, so plenty of time to drink and eat.

Then The Cure came on. And yes, it was all you could imagine. New stuff, old stuff and everything in between. Robert Smith’s voice was still on point and they killed it with their second encore set. KILLED IT!!!

We had a quick walk back to the hotel (which is much preferred over sitting in a car for an hour back home after shows). Hop in bed and lights out. 

Day 4

Another adventure awaited us today with a Jazz River Cruise on the Mississippi. So alarm was set for 8am (got to sleep in a little) followed by hotel breakfast. The port for the cruise was within easy walking distance, so that’s what we did. Got there pretty early so walked around the area around the port. 

Finally it was time to start boarding. Boarding started at 11am with cruise starting at 11:30. We stopped for the obligatory souvenir photo op. Then boarded the boat. We signed up for the 12:15pm lunch on the cruise as well. We got seats on the upper deck listening to live jazz. Wonderful. 

Everything up to this point was right on schedule. They were very diligent following timelines. But then we were just sitting and waiting. 11:30 came and went. Then about 11:35 the captain comes over the speaker to announce they had a jumper off the bridge by us and the coast guard had closed the River. 😳 

We took our lemons and made some lemonade. Listened to some jazz on the upper deck and had some New Orleans food (fried catfish, red beans & rice, and jambalaya). Then hopped back off the boat and got our partial refund. Never did learn about what happened to the poor soul that felt life wasn’t worth livin’ anymore.

We walked the rest of Bourbon Street and then started walking back towards the hotel. And let me tell you, the humidity was in full swing. It was brutal for us dry-ass Colorado gals. As we were walking (and shopping to be honest), we passed a daiquiri shop that was selling jello shooters that looked oh so refreshing. We just had to grab one *each* and try it out. It was really more like 4 Jell-O shots in these needle plunger thingys. 

After getting back to the hotel literally dripping with sweat, I relax for about 10-15 min then hop in the shower to start fresh again. And when I’m looking up where we need to go for our next adventure, I realize we’ve been walking out our hotel to the French Quarter the wrong way 🤦🏼‍♀️ Our hotel is right on the edge between the Business District and the French Quarter. And our business district street turns into Bourbon street! I won’t even get into the ridiculous route we kept taking. We are dumb 🙄

Tonight we have a fun adventure planned: Cemetery Ghost Tour!! So once we are ready to walk miles again, we head back out. But of course the way we need to go is our old route we had been taking the whole time. But necessary this time. I was also ready to get a drink to drink while walking the streets. New Orleans may be the last place in the country where you can walk the streets while openly consuming alcohol. Once my fruity rum daiquiri was purchased, we walked to the Jell-O shots place for Shawnett to get a vodka daiquiri. Then we walk aaaaallllllll the way down to the meeting spot for the ghost tour. 

And we absolutely scored in the guide department. Henry was playing kickass older tunes that the whole shuttle would sing along with. We visited 2 cemeteries on this tour, and he had photos he shared that he and other guests had taken at the spots he took us to. Creepy as fuck pictures! I still haven’t gone through all the pictures I took to see if I captured anything. If I find something, I’ll definitely share 😉 

Not sure how much you know about New Orleans cemeteries, but I certainly learned more than I already knew. For instance, I had learned at some point in my life that they have above ground tombs because the city is below sea level, so all the bodies would just come up out of the ground with the next flood. But what I didn’t know was the true historical way of burials in the area. See, every cemetery I’ve ever been to, it’s one body per hole. But in New Orleans, it’s more like composting. 😳 

Let’s take an average burial plot. It will have an above ground tomb or structure that can hold two caskets. You can’t dig 6ft graves because around 4ft you hit water….every….single….time. And these tombs are built on top of earth/dirt. When you die, you are wrapped in cloth, minimally (if at all) embalmed, put in a simple wood casket/box and placed in the top slot of the tomb. One year and one day after you are put in there, they take the remains that are in the slot closest to the ground and add them to the soil beneath the tomb. Then your remains are placed in the slot below freeing up the top slot. And this is repeated time and time again as more people pass in the family. Now, what they do if more than one person a year dies in a family that only has a two slot tomb, I do not know. However, I did learn you can “rent” tombs, so maybe that’s what they do with their remains being added to the family plot once decomposed. 

You can skip this part if you are squeamish. Because of the extremely hot temperatures in New Orleans, your body is reduced to bones through this process (also called a slow cremation). And I believe the bones become ashes with the second year in the tomb. Another speculation on the quick decomposition is a bit more morbid. Since bodies are not really embalmed and simply wrapped in cloth in wooden boxes, it makes the remains easy access to rodents in the area. So some believe they also contribute to the process. Believe what you will. 

Our tour guide Henry also shared that when remains come out of the tomb to be added to the soil, the caretakers will mix shells and white rocks in with the churning so that any larger bone fragments are not noticeable should it rain and white parts float to the top. 😳Regardless of what the process ultimately looks like, I did get some really cool photos in the cemeteries we visited. 

Day 5

Today we head home, but our flights aren’t until this evening, so we decided to have one more adventure while we were in New Orleans. Today’s escapade was a tour of the Garden District. We drove through it a bit when we did some sight seeing with Lee on Day 2, but this tour would be a walking tour. As if we hadn’t done enough walking already this week 🤣

Since it was a morning tour, and we had to check out of our hotel room and ask the front desk to hold our luggage, and the location was a 40 min walk, we opted for a Lyft to get out to the meeting spot. We were dropped off at the infamous Lafayette Cemetery #1. Apparently the most coveted cemetery in the area. And the oldest. It sits smack in the middle of the garden district. It’s closed to the public, so I could only get some pictures pushing my arms and phone through the gate, but what I could see looked quite old. 

Our tour guide, Lee, arrived and we certainly scored once again in the guide department. He had been doing this for 10 years, so his monologues were on point….and seriously entertaining!!! Although I would like to point out one teeny detail so you can have a little sympathy for me. Lee was born and raised in North Carolina (so the humid south-ish), has been in New Orleans for 10 years (so certainly acclimated), and he looked like a drowned puppy by the end of the tour! And this man was a bean pole, so not a large person at all. Watching him sweat so much may have caused me to sweat more than I would’ve. He was soaking wet by the end of the tour. Now think of me…I live in CO where it feels humid if we hit 10%, so today’s humidity WHILE WALKING MILES was just about the most unbearable thing for me. But I survived (as did Lee) to tell the tale. 😜

Lee has a degree in historical architecture, so we definitely got a high dose of that on the tour (which wasn’t very interesting to me). But I did learn that a lot of the homes in this area are more eclectic being made up of several different styles rather than individual homes being of a singular style. We got to see the top of the home that Sandra Bullock bought for her son Louis so he would have a piece of home (she adopted him after Katrina from New Orleans). We saw the home that Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) and John Goodman (current owner) owned. We also saw Ann Rice’s home (which I read all her stuff back in the 90s). And finally the home that Peyton Manning grew up in. Of course there were many other homes, but I was trying not to turn into a melted blob on the sidewalk with all the heat and humidity. Made it hard to concentrate on everything. 

After the tour we went in search of a restroom as the bladders were completely full. Once that was taken care of, we decided to do one last little adventure and ride the St. Charles streetcar from the Garden District back to Canal street in search of lunch. And let me tell you…$1.25 was quite the bargain to catch a cute ride back to the city. Once on Canal Street, we popped out our phones to find a place to eat. Ended up at some Oyster Bar and Restaurant where I ended up just grabbing a burger and fries. We were only one block up from our hotel, so walked there and sat in the air conditioned lobby for about 2 hours until it was time to go to the airport. I know, we should’ve enjoyed the city more, but we were pooped and it really was an extraordinary humid day!

My flight to Atlanta was on time and uneventful (yes, Louise was being a good gal and sticking with me), no lightning storms to avoid this time thank god! But my luck would slip away after landing in Atlanta. My flight to Colorado was delayed about an hour. See, I was already getting in at midnight mountain time (so 1am central, which is what I was on all week), now I’d be getting in at 1am. This traveling lady was tired as all get out! And the flight was pretty bumpy the whole way across the country. Not terrible, but not sleeping conditions either. But alas my car and driver were right there to drive me home. My head finally hit the pillow about 3am 😴

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